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Mock-death in Shakespeare's Plays

So, I have a new book up in the Kindle store -- the first full-length study of mock-death in Shakespeare's plays. He was very fond of the trope, using it directly in 14 plays (with analogues in two more), and over time his practice became steadily more subtle and complex, culminating in the late plays, each in a different way dominated by mock-death.

I divide the 14+2 plays under four heads : Shipwrecks and Separations, covering The Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night, Pericles, & The Tempest ; Misprisions and Other Errors, covering A Midsummer Night's Dream, Henry IV, and the two plays with mock-death analogues, The Merchant of Venice & Hamlet ; Wilful Lies (where mock-death answers false accusations of adultery), covering Much Ado about Nothing, Measure, for Measure, All's Well, that Ends Well, Anthony, and Cleopatra, & The Winter's Tale; and Drugged Deceptions, covering Romeo and Juliet and Cymbeline.

And the range of things that turn out to be involved was an endless fascination in writing -- not only Shakespeare's one notorious bear, but both of his lions, two of his three weird drugs, three of the four deaths he allowed himself in comedy, just how fat Falstaff really was (with how that fatness might have been staged in the 1590s), that most surprising clown who enters bearing a basket of figs-over-asps, and the effects of writing for performance at the Blackfriars after 1609, as well as much else. The trope of mock-death is central to Shakespearean comedy, and the late plays, but also plays oddly important roles in tragedy and history, so I was astonished to discover it had never been systematically explored in criticism ... but now it has!

"It’s really good to have a book on this topic, and this one appeals to me a lot: it’s full and clear and scholarly and attentive to the text, and gives just the right amount of space to things such as links to Shakespeare’s own mental and emotional life. I like its genre-crossing, too. And it avoids the wilder shores of theory."
Helen Cooper, Emeritus Professor of Mediaeval and Renaissance Literature, University of Cambridge

So now you know -- and it's only $5 or equivalent : a veritable snip. Please enjoy, and remember that reviews and starring on Amazon or Goodreads will be much appreciated.


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